Thursday, July 28, 2011


I said good bye to Missy on Tuesday. I had watched her slow decline become much sharper over the past week and a half and prayed that she would go peacefully in her sleep so that I wouldn't have to make the final decision. But on Tuesday it was painfully obvious that her body was close to wearing out on her. Her heart was still willing to try, but she just couldn't anymore. I made the appointment.

I gave her extra pain meds and we spent a couple of quite hours at home. Made a slow trip to the barn where Katie cat caught Missy's attention, then we sat in the front yard with her head in my lap and I told her what a good girl she was. She always lived to please and she always quivered in happiness when I crooned to her that she was a good girl. She couldn't do much, but her tail wagged a few times at the sound of those words and she'd open her eyes if I quit petting her.

Those couple hours with her were a gift. A little while later she slipped away in the back of my car as I again stroked her head and told her she was a good girl. She was free from pain.

I knew it would be hard, but I didn't know just how deep down my heart would ache. I'd been mourning since the diagnosis over eight weeks ago, but now it was final and it cut my to the core.

She was such a part of the family, a part of my life, a part of me. It hurts like crazy right now that she isn't here to share in life anymore. I drove over to the other barn tonight to shut the sheep in and found myself sobbing because Missy wasn't in the back seat. She loved going to the barn and helping with chores right up to the end. It was our evening routine. On Monday night when I let her outside she slowly walked over to the car with a look that said "are we going?". We went. Got to the barnyard and I told her to "go bring". Her ears perked up and I helped her push the sheep (who were very used to her and knew the routine) out of the barn. It was her job and of all the things that she wasn't able to do anymore, I was glad she was able to do that right up to the end.

But those little routines are painfully empty now. No nose coming over to beg at the table for food (she was always so polite about it that no one really minded), No barking when my brother walked in the house tonight. No nose nudging open my bedroom door. No black and white face watching intently as I grab my keys with body language plainly saying "can I come, too?"

Is the pain worth it? Without a doubt. Missy was the most amazing four legged partner a person could ask for and she taught me so very much and she was my best friend. But right now the emptiness is hard. So very hard.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My dogs ate better than I did today...

That was the thought running through my head this morning when I gave Missy a raw rib eye steak to eat – and it was organic to boot. Earlier I had grabbed a fast food breakfast sandwich on my way to class and here she was happily chewing down a nice cut of premium meat! But raw meat and along with a few soft raw bones is what she'll eat these days so that's what she gets. I'm just glad that she's still around and happily eating!

Now to the question you're definitely asking if you've notice the price of a steak these days- Did I actually go out and buy a rib eye steak for my dog? the answer is yes and no. A local farm sells “seconds” meat for pets at a greatly reduced price – it ends up being cheaper buying their pet meat than grocery store hamburger, and much cheaper than any premium canned dog food. I'm strongly tempted to cook some of it for myself. I have a sneaking suspicion that their seconds are better than grocery store meats....

In case you're wondering about the other two, Kenzi had to settle for raw chicken and turkey today and Kipp had to suffer with premium kibble and canned food that Missy had turned her nose up at. They live a very tough life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What are those masked creatures?

Canadian geese of course! And Missy found them fascinating...

She kept circling the pond to head them off

I think she could have made a good goose dog


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cats and Dogs

They're an interesting combination around here.

When Missy sees a cat she goes into stealth mode and starts stalking. But she is very easy and quiet about it so the cats here have learned that while she might be annoying, she is very harmless. All the cats but Pepper - he grew up around Missy and decided that they needed to be friends. He runs into the house and right over to Miss and starts rubbing up against her like she was his long lost buddy.

Then there is Toni. Toni is black and white and we've joked about Toni and Missy being twins separated at birth. Toni hid upstairs for a year after Missy came into the house, but finally figured out that the intimidating creature wasn't going to eat her. And they've had a love/hate relationship going on ever since. Missy would stalk Toni and Toni would hiss at her. Then Toni would be bored and she'd go bat at Missy to get something going. Or my favorite - Missy would be wandering around with nothing to do and jump on Toni who had been sleeping soundly in a chair - annoyed cat moves and dog now has a cat to follow around.

All highly entertaining!

The dynamic duo is a little different in the way they react around cats. Kipp was obsessed with cats when I got him. Say the word "cat" and his one goal in life was to find the cat. Nothing else existed. I found it rather exasperating. But after years of redirection, training, correction, etc. We finally have the obsession semi conquered. He will ignore the cats as long as he has something else to do. But if he's just laying there and one walks past it's all "CAT".

And Kenzi. Dear, sweet, loving Kenzi. Dear sweet loving Kenzi that loves to chase cats. It's wouldn't be bad if they just didn't run. She would check them out and move on to the next thing. But the barn cats run and hide from her. So she really, really, really wants to go find them. Once again it wouldn't be bad if it stopped at that. I don't let her run loose looking for cats to chase and when she is out and about I'm with her. But there is more to the story.

K & K are kenneled outdoors during the day when I cant supervise. Right outside the backdoor, away from the barn and the animals. Shady in the summer, sheltered in the winter, a dog house to chill in if they don't want to be outside. It's great set up. Except for the barn cats. They have learned that kennels are kryptonite to the dogs. The fearsome beasts with eyes that can look right through you who can chase at lightening speeds? Harmless when behind the kennel fence.

Ferdinand the barn cat takes advantage of that. He will come and saunter around the house, sit on the step and generally annoy K & K. Last night he was sitting outside the kitchen window meowing loudly. Kipp has learned that you just ignore the pesky creature, but Kenzi is not quite there yet - she was barking excitedly at him. Annoying cat. I keep threatening to get him his own kennel next to the dogs. So far he has just looked at me with a "did you say something?" look on his face...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Since my blog is K-9 Knitter, perhaps I should say something about knitting....

I was figuring out what I've knit so far this year and I was rather impressed by the list - 6 (or maybe 7) pairs of socks, 2 scarves, 2 hats and a pair of fingerless mitts. I've also worked on a sweater and a shawl, but those are hibernating at the moment. I've also done a bit of pattern planning knitting - where I take my yarn and just start knitting until it looks like the idea in my head!

Most of these have been knit up as pattern samples (or in pattern development) for Knit Picks. It really is an efficient way to knit - figure out the pattern, send in the proposal, they send you the yarn and you knit away. The only downside is that at this rate, I'll never use up my stash - or even make a dent in it. Of course the upside is that this is great for my yarn budget!

And here is a picture of my latest pattern sample - Picket Fence Lace Anklets. They are a really fun, quick knit with a lace pattern that is easy to memorize! The sample is knit in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal - colorway "Blue Yonder". A link to the pattern is coming soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On Living

It’s been four weeks now since I found out that Missy had cancer. I honestly never thought she’d make it this long. I was hoping for a couple of good weeks. And now it been nearly a month and she is still doing well. Today she tagged along to take care of Logan and went over to the barn with me twice. Tonight she tried to work a lamb in the barnyard. And she would have succeeded except that lambs don’t play by the rules….

I am enjoying to opportunity to really live with her some more. The first couple weeks I was constantly on edge thinking that any little thing could be a sign that I was losing her. I didn’t sleep well, I kept thinking “what if this is it?” I wasn’t sure I’d use up the first 10 pain pills for her, but now I’ve refilled the prescription twice.

So things have shifted just a bit. I’m still very aware that it’s all day by day, but life is kind of back to normal, or at least as normal as it can be considering. We have our modified routine. My dog is happy, living her life and enjoying it. I’m trying to do the same. The other day I was once again thinking “what if this is it?” and I caught myself. I keep thinking that and Missy just keeps plodding right along. I have a dog that is still very much living and I’m preoccupied with her dying. Why? It was kind of like God was saying - “you still have your gift - enjoy it!“ I’ve had time to grieve and come to terms with things. I don’t need to do any more of that right now. There will be plenty of time later. Now is the time to focus on the life that is still very much there and just enjoy it.